Parents are struggling to afford subs and kit
The cost of living crisis is having a devastating impact on community, youth and grassroots football in Scotland.
A new study shows that rising numbers of parents can no longer afford to pay club subscriptions or kit out their kids to play.
This will lead to worsening health outcomes for children and the collapse of grassroots football clubs, many of which are powered by volunteers, are community owned or constituted as charities.
The Price To Play report shows that as many as 2,600 grassroots football clubs across the UK have folded and a further 6,000 are at risk of closure between now and the end of next season.
A combination of the rocketing cost of living and the economic after-shocks of the pandemic means parents are having to cut back.
In Scotland, the report shows that a third of Scottish parents (32%) say they will not be able to afford the cost of subs and football in the near future.
Meanwhile, 26% of Scottish parents said that the cost of boots limits which surfaces their child can play on and 23% said they have not been able to afford subs since the pandemic.
The survey showed that 20% of Scottish parents said they are only just able to send their child to football, because they have made sacrifices elsewhere.
The Price to Play Report, commissioned by Utilita Energy in association with former England goalkeeper David James, asked 1,000 parents of grassroots footballers aged five-16 how their football had been impacted by the pandemic and, latterly, by the cost of living crisis.
Paul Kirton, founder of Team Grassroots, an online grassroots football community, said: “Grassroots clubs have demonstrated their incredible resilience during the last three seasons. The community spirit carries these clubs through, and they would never knowingly let a child miss football because they can’t pay. However, this report has identified a major participation problem ahead.
“There is one challenge that no club can overcome - and that is a parent’s pride. Very few parents or their kids would be honest about why they’re not turning up, or why they haven’t returned for a season, and that is totally understandable. But it is for this reason that a major intervention is required, to help these families avoid coming cap in hand to continue playing, or start playing, grassroots football.”
Read the report here: